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Pine Creek Rail Trail

Old 10-13-15, 05:09 AM
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Pine Creek Rail Trail

I was off work for Columbus Day yesterday, so I went for another rail trail ride. This time on a stretch of the Pine Creek Rail Trail in north-central Pennsylvania. I started at Blackwell and rode up to Darling Run and back -- round trip around 32 miles. It was by far the best rail trail I've been on. I had ridden a portion of it further south back in the summer, but this section was much better. The fall foliage certainly helped, but it was also nice to be out in remote nature rather than just riding a trail next to a highway (like the southern part of the trail does). If you're interested, I put some photos of the ride on my photo website.
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Old 10-13-15, 05:46 AM
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This looks gorgeous, and illustrates the exact kind of outing I want to do to get into biking (currently shopping for my first one now). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10-13-15, 09:01 AM
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Looks great. When riding a rail trail, it's necessary that the scenery be outstanding because the riding itself can get tedious. This trail looks fantastic. How long does it go? Is it all paved?
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Old 10-13-15, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by practical
Looks great. When riding a rail trail, it's necessary that the scenery be outstanding because the riding itself can get tedious. This trail looks fantastic. How long does it go? Is it all paved?
I believe the entire trail is about 60 miles or so. Back in the summer I did a 12-mile stretch of it; and while somewhat scenic, it didn't compare to the 16-mile stretch I did yesterday. Those are the only two sections I've done. But based on my conversations with others who've done the whole thing, the part I did yesterday is the best part -- more wilderness area without any roads nearby. Oh, and I'm pretty sure it's hard-packed gravel the whole way. Not paved, but easy riding.

Before living in Pennsylvania, I lived up in your neck of the woods in southern NH. This is the time of year I miss New England the most. And I was thinking yesterday while riding that it was the closest I've found around here to the New England autumn colors. You're definitely right about the need for good scenery on a rail trail, and this one checked that box nicely.
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Old 10-13-15, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by practical
Looks great. When riding a rail trail, it's necessary that the scenery be outstanding because the riding itself can get tedious. This trail looks fantastic. How long does it go? Is it all paved?
Tedious meaning because its a rail, its flat?

I never ride in flat before. I like hills and my reward for climb is downhill at 50 mph. Luv it.
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Old 10-13-15, 12:32 PM
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Great pics, thanks for sharing. I just may have to find that part of the world to ride on. My Significant other loves horses, and so it looks like we could do both there. Her with the horses, and me with a 60 mile bike ride. :-) We tried to do this last month in the Redwoods in northern California, but could get the horse part worked out, plus we got a call from home that we had to manage, and didn't get to do either of them. I also have a friend that lives in Meadeville, in the NW corner of Pa.
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Old 10-13-15, 06:16 PM
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Thx for sharing your ride & photos. The foliage is stunning there.
It also brings back memories of [motorcycle] camping near Wellsboro,
and checking Colton Point
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Old 10-13-15, 06:25 PM
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Wow! What a beautiful trail! I never realized that trail was there. And I graduated from Lock Haven University, which appears to be right next to it.

When I'm up at my parents next, I may just have to swing up and take a look at that!
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Old 10-13-15, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by chong67
Tedious meaning because its a rail, its flat?
I never ride in flat before. I like hills and my reward for climb is downhill at 50 mph. Luv it.
Rail trails are named such because they usually follow previous or current railroad paths, which are usually not very steep. And believe it or not, flat roads can be just as much of a workout as hilly ones because you don't get that "reward" -- you're constantly pedaling.

Originally Posted by quicktrigger
Great pics, thanks for sharing. I just may have to find that part of the world to ride on. My Significant other loves horses, and so it looks like we could do both there. Her with the horses, and me with a 60 mile bike ride. :-) We tried to do this last month in the Redwoods in northern California, but could get the horse part worked out, plus we got a call from home that we had to manage, and didn't get to do either of them. I also have a friend that lives in Meadeville, in the NW corner of Pa.
Yes, that would be a great trail for you both, then. There were quite a few folks with horses on the trail yesterday.

Originally Posted by FrozenBiker
Thx for sharing your ride & photos. The foliage is stunning there.
It also brings back memories of [motorcycle] camping near Wellsboro,
and checking Colton Point
My wife and I camped in Wellsboro soon after we moved to this area ten years ago, but my experience was very different then. It was the middle of the summer and sweltering, so it was hard to enjoy much of anything that week. Autumn weather and foliage makes a world of difference!

Originally Posted by travbikeman
Wow! What a beautiful trail! I never realized that trail was there. And I graduated from Lock Haven University, which appears to be right next to it. When I'm up at my parents next, I may just have to swing up and take a look at that!
If you want to ride the whole thing, you can pick up the trail at its southern point in Jersey Shore which is right up the road from Lock Haven. That part of the trail hugs Rt. 287, though, with a few crossings. Not that big of a deal, but the northern section is definitely a step up in quality.
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Old 10-15-15, 02:40 PM
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I love the Pine Creek trail too. I have ridden sections of it twice, and the whole thing once.

If you ever journey eastward, you would probably also like the Lehigh Gorge section of rail trail. It goes between White Haven and Jim Thorpe (the Glen Onoko trail head is best, because the ride between there and Jim Thorpe is nothing special, unless you want to spend time in the town, which is nice). The trail only crosses one road between the two trail heads, plus one parking lot at the midway trail head. Most of the ride is right beside the Lehigh River. The southern 6 miles are OK, but are right next to railroad tracks on one side, the trail is best in the middle section, where there are a couple of nice water falls.
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Old 10-15-15, 03:41 PM
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And,,,,,,, rail trails can go steadily uphill for miles and miles and miles.................. and miles
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Old 10-15-15, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer
And,,,,,,, rail trails can go steadily uphill for miles and miles and miles.................. and miles
Yea....I found that out with the past 3 rail trails I've ridden. This last one this past Monday, 26 miles of it was uphill and I think it was a 2% grade. Coming back down was a blast though!
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Old 10-15-15, 07:57 PM
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Pine Creek does go uphill for 60 miles, I've rode the full length and back once. I know people that don't like rail trails because they are boring, I liked it a lot. The surface is slow, going 12 mph was no problem, but 14 was a real strain. I nearly lost my voice telling people I was passing. The trail is as wide as a road in most areas, but the pedestrians and cyclists are all over the trail. A lot of the cyclists in this area actually prefer the road. There is almost no traffic on it now that the fracking in the area is done.
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Old 10-15-15, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by travbikeman
Yea....I found that out with the past 3 rail trails I've ridden. This last one this past Monday, 26 miles of it was uphill and I think it was a 2% grade. Coming back down was a blast though!
I just learn a new thing called Grade. I google it: Measuring Hilliness of Routes -- Bike Hudson Valley

So I see this grade thing on this bike app I use on my Android phone. Now I also strap a HRM on my chest for the heart rate zone.

The only thing I dont have is cadence which I think its not important. I can see my pace and avg mph.

All is good I think.
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Old 10-15-15, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Darwin
If you ever journey eastward, you would probably also like the Lehigh Gorge section of rail trail. It goes between White Haven and Jim Thorpe (the Glen Onoko trail head is best, because the ride between there and Jim Thorpe is nothing special, unless you want to spend time in the town, which is nice). The trail only crosses one road between the two trail heads, plus one parking lot at the midway trail head. Most of the ride is right beside the Lehigh River. The southern 6 miles are OK, but are right next to railroad tracks on one side, the trail is best in the middle section, where there are a couple of nice water falls.
Funny you mention it, because I just rode that trail on Saturday. I started at Onoko Falls, rode up to the parking lot underneath I-80, and then rode back to Onoko Falls. About 44 miles round trip. I would agree with your assessment that the middle section is the best. Unfortunately, most of the waterfalls were just trickles. It was still nice to be right next to the river. I think they had a big release that day at the dam -- the water was pretty high and there were a TON of kayakers and rafters.
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Old 10-17-15, 07:26 PM
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This will be a shot-in-the-dark question, but for those of you familiar with backroads in PA -
any idea where the road in this pic is located?
18% down grade ahead
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Old 10-17-15, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by FrozenBiker
This will be a shot-in-the-dark question, but for those of you familiar with backroads in PA -
any idea where the road in this pic is located?
18% down grade ahead
I think it might be PA-487 on Red Rock Mountain just south of the entrance to Ricketts Glen State Park.
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Old 10-18-15, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by AU Tiger
I think it might be PA-487 on Red Rock Mountain just south of the entrance to Ricketts Glen State Park.
I agree. It looks a lot like the top of that hill. Definitely looks like a challenge going up or back on a bike. I know I wouldn't try it, but I know others that have ridden it.
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Old 10-18-15, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Darwin
Definitely looks like a challenge going up or back on a bike. I know I wouldn't try it
There is NO WAY I'd try that hill on a bike. I have enough trouble tackling it in my car. And that's in both directions -- uphill is tough on the engine, and downhill is tough on the brakes. I'd think if someone were planning to ride down it on a bike, you'd want disc brakes.
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Old 10-18-15, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by AU Tiger
I think it might be PA-487 on Red Rock Mountain just south of the entrance to Ricketts Glen State Park.
Originally Posted by Little Darwin
I agree. It looks a lot like the top of that hill. Definitely looks like a challenge going up or back on a bike. I know I wouldn't try it, but I know others that have ridden it.
Wow, thx for putting a location to that picture. According to my old Gousha map, I have been on 487..
I traveled UP that hill on the motorcycle, then noticed that sign for the folks that would be heading down it.
Lots of cool stuff in Pa.
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Old 10-19-15, 07:28 AM
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I was all psyched up Friday about doing this ride at Pine Creek on Saturday. But ended up talking myself out of it to have time to see the inlaws in PA instead. Glad I did, it's COLD up there and it snowed! Maybe next weekend.
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Old 10-19-15, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by travbikeman
I was all psyched up Friday about doing this ride at Pine Creek on Saturday. But ended up talking myself out of it to have time to see the inlaws in PA instead. Glad I did, it's COLD up there and it snowed! Maybe next weekend.
You're right about that -- it was cold Saturday! But it's already warmer today, and I think it's supposed to get a little better later in the week.
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